Premier League

Man Utd selection dilemma 'not easy' for Solskjaer

After much debate over his usage of Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba, the Old Trafford manager acknowledged he has a difficult balance to strike

5:20pm on Wednesday 28th October 2020
By
Chris Myson

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits he finds it difficult to rotate his midfield options at Manchester United but would rather endure that selection dilemma than not have enough players to choose from.

After Saturday's 0-0 draw against Chelsea, Solskjaer acknowledged he may have been unfair to France international Paul Pogba over the way he had been used early in the 2020/21 season.

He has also come under scrutiny over the lack of match action for Donny van de Beek, who was an unused substitute against Chelsea and is yet to start a Premier League game.

Ahead of Wednesday's home Champions League clash against RB Leipzig, the United manager called for calm over Van de Beek and explained how hard it can be to strike the right balance.

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Solskjaer has Pogba, Van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic among his senior options in midfield.

"It is not easy," he said at his pre-match press conference.

"It is hard to leave players out like the last game with Donny, Nemanja and Paul to start on the bench.

"As midfielders they are all experienced international footballers. Of course, the depth of our squad is better now.

"It is going to be a long season - we have so many games. They are all going to play a big, massive part in different periods of the season. I don’t think anyone is able to play all of the games.

"There is a balance when you put 11 players together, it is important we all work well as a team – is it three or four or two [in midfield]?

"All sorts of discussions - who is on form and who maybe needs a break. All these little things."

Asked specifically about Van de Beek, a £40 million signing from Ajax, Solskjaer hit back at pundits and some of his former team-mates.

He added: "When players come into a new team and a new league it is always going to be a time that he adapts.

"When Donny has played, he has played really well. It says a lot about our depth of quality in the squad that we don’t have to use him every game. It also says everything about our ambitions. Donny is going to play a big, big part this year.

"I know at the moment the topic is Donny van de Beek. It’s nice for some players and commentators to have a little go, but you have to know that you don’t have to start the first three games to be a very important player in the squad.

"I would be disappointed if some of my team-mates said that I wasn’t important at Man United - but I didn’t start many games. So Donny’s going to be very, very important for us."

In attack, Anthony Martial, who is suspended domestically, looks poised to play against Leipzig, with Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood also pushing to start.

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